How to dispose of invasive or dangerous plants

To safely dispose of invasive plants such as lesser celandine, place them in a plastic bag, seal it tightly and put the bag into your trash. Photo illustration by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

In response to a previous article on lesser celandine, an invasive plant that can take over your yard, a reader left a comment with this question:

What to do with the dug ups??? Same problem I have when removing poison ivy. Where can you put it that it doesn’t cause more problems?

The best way to dispose of invasive plants or dangerous plants is to carefully place them in a plastic bag and set the bag out for the trash, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County.

While we try to keep things out of landfills, he said, invasive plants such as lesser celandine are safer there than trying to get rid of them any other way.

Poison ivy poses an added problem because you can get an itchy, blistering rash when you come into contact with it. To dispose of poison ivy, you should double-bag it so that the people handling your trash have less chance of coming into contact with it.

Poison ivy is a woody vine, but don’t set it out at the curb in a trash can as you might for ordinary sticks.

Don’t burn poison ivy; the toxic compounds that cause the skin irritation can be transmitted in the smoke.

Don’t compost any invasive or dangerous plant.

When you bag up the plant, make sure you include the roots, tubers and/or seeds and seal the bag tightly.

“You want to contain them to make sure they don’t get redistributed,” Farfaglia said.

As an added measure, when you bag up the invasive or dangerous plant, you can leave the bag out in the sun. The solarization process will let the heat in the bag dry out the plant. This will decrease the already low chance of the plant being able to propagate in a landfill, Farfaglia said.

Other common plants that you should dispose of carefully include yellow flag iris and Japanese knotweed. See a list of invasive plants here.

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